In the past four and a half years, we’ve had terror arrests, deportations, and convictions across the country. The mainstream media has largely ignored most of these cases, meaning that those who know about them have sought out the information on the Internet or possibly talk radio. But the combination of lack of coverage about law enforcement’s success and the thankful lack of success by would-be terrorists has resulted in many Americans feeling less and less threatened. 9/11 just isn’t as salient anymore.
While almost any write-up of United 93 discusses the closing shot of the plane nose-diving into the Earth, most significant is the film’s opening scene of one of the terrorists dutifully praying. The movie, in other words, alluded to the nature of the enemy we face.
Though we are not at war with everyone who practices Islam, it is not insignificant that those who declared war on us did so in the name of Islam. We are not simply at war with those who engage in warfare that can be described as terrorism. And we are not merely at war with those who commit terrorism in the name of Islam. We are up against huge swaths of the Muslim world that want the establishment of the worldwide Islamic state and either support or tolerate terrorism as a means to do so. This latter front is particularly tricky, since it cannot be fought by the military.
What’s the solution? That’s what we as a nation must determine. But the answer isn’t simply to ignore the enormity of the problem.
Not that Hollywood hasn’t tried that tack. Tinseltown’s recent track record—TV shows and movies are still home to vastly more neo-Nazis than Islamic terrorists—indicates that the entertainment biz will not anytime soon follow its own actions during World War II, when there was no disguising of the enemy.
No one film, even one as mesmerizing as United 93, is likely to impact significantly public awareness. That’s a shame, because this movie not only memorializes the heroism of flight 93, but it serves as a potent reminder of the price of complacency.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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